The construction workforce was smaller in every state and the District of Columbia in January 2010 than it was just 12 months earlier, according to a new analysis of federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The data indicated just how widespread the construction downturn is, association officials said, noting that 38 states and D.C. experienced a double digit percentage drop in construction employment.
"Construction employment is dropping everywhere and plummeting almost everywhere," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "Looking at this data, it is quite clear that the construction industry has yet to hit bottom."
Simonson noted that California lost more construction jobs, 128,700, while North Dakota lost the least jobs, 200, over the past twelve months. The five states with the largest percentage decline in employment were Nevada (29.9 percent); Arizona (26 percent); Colorado (22.2 percent); Idaho (21 percent); and Florida (20.4 percent). Meanwhile, North Dakota (1 percent); Nebraska (4.1 percent); Alaska (4.2 percent); South Dakota (5.9 percent); and Arkansas (6.2 percent) experienced the smallest decline in construction employment.
Even the monthly employment changes reflect the tough construction conditions, said Simonson, noting that 31 states lost construction jobs between December and January. He added that most of the states adding jobs for the month lost jobs in December, often more than they gained back in January. The economist said this suggested the monthly data was affected by unseasonable weather conditions that also are likely to affect February's state employment figures.
Association officials cited the new state employment data in urging the Senate to pass a ten month extension to the nation's surface transportation program and for the administration to accelerate stimulus-funded construction projects. "As privately-funded construction activity continues to decline, federal investments in infrastructure are often the difference between a job and unemployment for what's left of the industry."
View the state-by-state employment data.